A Divine Moment!

by Wayne Barber

 "But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law" (Gal. 4:4).

 The context of Galatians shows the difference between Religion and Christianity. Religion is what a man, whether Jew or Gentile, can do for God; Christianity is what only God can do through man. Religious people have no joy in the celebration of Christmas. They do not need a Redeemer, they think that they are righteous in themselves. But believers rejoice in this occasion. We understand our need for a Savior. That's why Christmas is so special to us!

Christmas is the first of at least five chapters in the "Book of Redemption": Chapter 1–Christ was born of a virgin; Chapter 2–He lived a sinless life, the God-man; Chapter 3–He died for our sins on the cross; Chapter 4–He rose victorious over sin and death; Chapter 5–He ascended back to the Father in heaven. And we could add many more! He comes to live in the lives of believers, etc., etc. But first, He who has eternally existed, had to be born into our world as the God-man.

God began slowly opening the door to the revelation of His plan for all mankind in Genesis 3, when He said to the serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" (v. 15).

 God continued to shed more and more light on His eternal plan for man as the Scriptures unfolded. After destroying all but Noah's family with the Flood, and after confusing the languages and separating the people, God singled out Abraham.. In Genesis 15 He cut covenant with him.

In Genesis 29, Judah was born to Jacob's wife, Leah. In 1st Samuel 16, David was born in the line of Judah. In Matthew 1, Jesus Christ was born to Mary, who was of David's line (cf. Ps. 132:11; Luke 1:32; Rom. 1:3), while she was a virgin.

So Paul can say in Galatians 4:4-5 that Jesus came in "the fullness of time."

Exactly the Right Time

God does what He does with divine precision. Some would say the birth of Jesus came at a good time.  Some might say it came at an acceptable time.  But the Bible says it came at the precise time, the perfect time. The Greek for  "fullness" is plé\ro\ma. It means when something is fulfilled or completed. In this context, when it's time had come—the time. The definite article is used with chrnos, time, indicating a specific time. This is supported by Galatians 4:2: "but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father."  The word for "date set" is the word prothésmios, which means a date set beforehand.

God knew the exact time for Christ to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem. The date was preset. There was to be a divine moment that Christ was to be born in a manger in Bethlehem—at the fullness of time.

When Jesus was born, everything was right for the Messiah to come.  Since the Babylon captivity, the Jews had finally forsaken the idolatry that had plagued them for centuries. No Jew has ever gone back to it; the pain had been so great. When Ezra read from the Law and the people repented; there was a turning back to God like never before.

The Greek culture had been established by Alexander the Great. The magnificent precision of the Greek language now infiltrated the known world. This gave people a common language, no matter what part of the world they were from. The Roman Empire had established a "peace" which would allow freedom to travel and for the gospel message to get out. The time was EXACTLY right when God sent forth His Son.  It was a divine moment. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!

What about you this Christmas? Have you received Him into your heart? Do you know our Savior Jesus Christ? If you do, then you along with me are rejoicing in your heart.  Jesus is the reason for the season!

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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